On Twitter before this game ever tipped I said it was a case of need vs want. The Raptors no doubt wanted to win and snap their 5 game losing streak. The Celtics needed to win to snap their same 5 game losing streak. The Raptors entered this season with no expectations of success other than the ones the team had for itself. While in Boston the expectations are always high and have been that way pretty much forever. Certainly since the Big 3 arrived in Boston. When someone needs something as opposed to wants something always bet on the guy that needs it. That was the case early in this game and it was clearly the case in the third quarter of this game.
The Celtics came out and set the tone in this basketball game. The Raptors tried to battle them off but just couldn't. It was a new starting line-up for Toronto as James Johnson finally replaced Rasaul Butler in the starting line-up but Johnson struggled in the new role. He on the game was 1-7 with just 4 points and had 3 turnovers. Raptors other Johnson in Amir continued to revert back to old habits and found himself on the bench early with 2 fouls. The second foul was of the questionable variety but they count all the same. On that second foul it cost Demar DeRozan a bucket who early on was doing the right things. Driving to the basket and attacking. Made a three pointer but went right back to the attack. But as the calls did not come he reverted to shooting jumpers and forcing shots. There was one play where his lack of ball skills got exposed by Ray Allen quite nicely. This all with a story we have seen many times before as Rajon Rondo owned Jose Calderon for 3 quarters. Rondo would leave the game after taking a hard foul by Linas Kleiza that was changed from a flagrant two to a flagrant one.
This game was pretty much decided after the first quarter. In that quarter the Raptors shot just 30% and did not get to the line once. It gave Boston a 29-14 advantage that they would never give up. The Raptors did show some fight and cut the lead to 6 at halftime. But the Celtics would quickly turn that back to a 12 point advantage to start the 3rd quarter. Rajon Rondo who as mention left during this quarter with a wrist injury had a great line for a full game let along just 2/3rds of one. He had 21 points shooting 7-8 with 2 assists and 3 rebounds. The Raptors starting 5 did not have a good night. Just 37 points total shooting 13-40 (32.5%) as a group. Only two Raptors would make it to double figures in this game. Demar DeRozan had just 11 points shooting 4-16 and continuing to struggle to get things on the right track. The second Raptor lead the team in scoring and would not be someone you would guess if you had 3 tries and had not seen the game. Gary Forbes the new proud uncle as he reported on twitter had 18 points going 5-6 from the field and 7-8 at the line. He might be the only Raptor that could take anything positive away from this one.
The score when the beating ended was Boston taking it 96-73 as they end there 5 game losing streak. Raptors losing skid climbs to 6 the longest active streak in the league at the moment with no clear end in sight. Portland is a team that is playing good basketball and they will be taking on the returning home Raptors at the ACC on Friday. This road trip was always going to be a tough one but it proved to be even more ugly than many could have imaged. The Raptors are 2-7 on the road for the season and 4-11 overall.